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Oct, 2014

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  1. #1

    Default Changing letting agent

    Hello all,
    I have been letting a property since 2004 through the same agents on a managed propery basis. So far, they have found me 2 tenants with only a few days break. However, over the years, I have become increasingly dissatisfied with the service I am receiving and the extra charges that have been creeping in. I should like to know how I go about changing to a new agent.
    Very many thanks for any assistance.

    Chris

  2. #2
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    Jun 2008
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    oop north
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisstc View Post
    Hello all. I should like to know how I go about
    changing to a new agent.Chris
    There are 3 ways to do this.
    1) If you are not satisfied with their work, but has to be verified reasons of
    mismanagement , failure to reply to letters, failure to do what is in their
    contract, you can inform them that as they work for you, and represent you,
    they are not representing you in a professional way, therefore you will end
    your contract with them in 30 days, as you can no longer employ someone
    who is not profesional and incompetant in some areas.

    2) Sometimes there is a part that says any party can terminate the contract with
    3 months notice ( rare on a letting agents contract ) so use that as your reason,
    but also stating their failings.

    3) If they have one of those contracts that state you MUST pay them for
    the next 50 years if you have the same tenant in that they found for you,
    living there for the next 50 years,
    Tell them you are no longer renting out your flat and no longer require
    their services. But you will have to issue a new A.S.T. in your name or in
    the new letting agents name. Tell the tenant what you are doing, ask him/her
    to now pay the rent to you until new letting agent found, etc, etc.
    Maybe you can get out if it with number 3.

    Some people will state number 3 is immoral / illegal, but the letting agents
    have brought it on themselves by stating that ( most of the time ) that you cannot
    end your agreement with them if the tenant they placed, is still there.
    This is well documented via "Foxtons" cases.

    But in my opinion, if you want to end paying a letting agent, who refuse to let you
    go, then you have no alternative but to go with item 3.
    Pay the tenant one months letting agents fees to stay in a hotel for one night,
    after ending his tenancy, and issue new tenancy for a new tenant
    ( the same tenant, of course ) the next day, to keep it sort of legal.

    Not the best answer you will get, but is here to show you your options if
    all else fails

    R.a.M

  3. #3
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    Nov 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by ram View Post
    There are 3 ways to do this.
    1) If you are not satisfied with their work, but has to be verified reasons of
    mismanagement , failure to reply to letters, failure to do what is in their
    contract, you can inform them that as they work for you, and represent you,
    they are not representing you in a professional way, therefore you will end
    your contract with them in 30 days, as you can no longer employ someone
    who is not profesional and incompetant in some areas.

    2) Sometimes there is a part that says any party can terminate the contract with
    3 months notice ( rare on a letting agents contract ) so use that as your reason,
    but also stating their failings.

    3) If they have one of those contracts that state you MUST pay them for
    the next 50 years if you have the same tenant in that they found for you,
    living there for the next 50 years,
    Tell them you are no longer renting out your flat and no longer require
    their services. But you will have to issue a new A.S.T. in your name or in
    the new letting agents name. Tell the tenant what you are doing, ask him/her
    to now pay the rent to you until new letting agent found, etc, etc.
    Maybe you can get out if it with number 3.

    Some people will state number 3 is immoral / illegal, but the letting agents
    have brought it on themselves by stating that ( most of the time ) that you cannot
    end your agreement with them if the tenant they placed, is still there.
    This is well documented via "Foxtons" cases.

    But in my opinion, if you want to end paying a letting agent, who refuse to let you
    go, then you have no alternative but to go with item 3.
    Pay the tenant one months letting agents fees to stay in a hotel for one night,
    after ending his tenancy, and issue new tenancy for a new tenant
    ( the same tenant, of course ) the next day, to keep it sort of legal.

    Not the best answer you will get, but is here to show you your options if
    all else fails

    R.a.M
    R.a.M your answer concerns me. I hope that O.P has not followed your advice because plainly it is sketchy to say the least. Your guidance on the Foxtons ruling is inaccurate. Clauses are perfectly legitimate if they clear and understandable.

    Furthermore, the 3 points you set out are all wishy washy. If there is no early termination clause within a contract, then you may have to 1) offer to terminate in exchange for a premium - entirely at LA's discretion. 2) If you believe that LA is not performing on their contractual obligations then seek a court order to this effect.

    You cannot simply unilaterally withdraw from a contract that does not allow you to and expect not to be hit with fees and/or court action.
    The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the salient facts BSc (Hons)

  4. #4
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    Jun 2008
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    oop north
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    [QUOTE=MrJohnnyB;316671]
    1) offer to terminate in exchange for a premium - entirely at LA's discretion.
    2) If you believe that LA is not performing on their contractual obligations
    then seek a court order to this effect.
    You cannot simply unilaterally withdraw from a contract that does not allow
    you to and expect not to be hit with fees and/or court action.[/QUOTE]



    I of course agree in principal with your recommendations, and hope the O.P.
    goes with your suggestions, But
    Note my last sentence, last post.
    "Not the best answer you will get, but is here to show you your options if
    all else fails."

    Number 2, I will have to debate with, ( not disagree with ) in so much as it is
    your right to say to someone,

    "You are not fulfilling your contract, therefore I
    will not continue to pay you for services not delivered, and end my contract
    with you for your multiple failings and breaches of contract in the next 30 days.

    We are prepared to go to court if you refuse to accept that we have recorded
    many instances of neglect, incompetence, animosity, cavalier attitudes, and
    that such evidence will be submitted to the court of your constant breach of
    contract, and note that we cannot stop the local press reporting on any court
    actions if you fail to accept our termination of our contract with you".

    Note to new persons reading these threads:
    You can see that Letting agents can have a contract on you for LIFE, if you
    accept their unfair contract rules, so make sure you can get out of the contract
    within 30 days to 3 months maximum, or don't sign the contract.

    R.

    Last edited by ram; 04-07-2011 at 10:34 AM. Reason: this site software needs changing.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ram View Post

    You are not fulfilling your contract, therefore I
    will not continue to pay you for services not delivered, and end my contract
    with you for your multiple failings and breaches of contract in the next 30 days.
    The issue that arises, is that most contracts cannot be unilaterally ended. They are an exchange of goods or services for other goods or services. It is only for a court to decide if a contract has ended (other than through usual methods!).

    By failing to pay would not have the desired effect, you are heavily reliant on the fact that the LA would not persue it. LA would be the claimant and would probably win for breach of contract, and have a costs award. If OP took LA to court for breach of contract then even if court ordered specific performance, OP would still be entitled to some monetary compensation for the loss in services provided. A court would be hard pushed to find in favour of completely voiding a contractual relationship in my opinion.

    I personally, in practice, believe the best route is mutual agreement. If you go in with the wrong attitude and get peoples backs up then they're more inclined to have a fight about it and less likely to be helpful.
    The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the salient facts BSc (Hons)

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
    If you go in with the wrong attitude and get peoples backs up then they're more inclined to have a fight about it and less likely to be helpful.
    Point taken, but I personaly do not condone letting agents having a hold on you for
    being incompetant.

    My item in italics, would be a letter that would probably make the letting agent "think"
    before saying no, to ending the contract.

    Have had certain contracts before, where people have been ordered off the site for
    gross incompetance, they never sued me, as how could they prove that thier
    incompetance required the contract to continue ?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ram View Post
    Point taken, but I personaly do not condone letting agents having a hold on you for
    being incompetant.

    My item in italics, would be a letter that would probably make the letting agent "think"
    before saying no, to ending the contract.

    Have had certain contracts before, where people have been ordered off the site for
    gross incompetance, they never sued me, as how could they prove that thier
    incompetance required the contract to continue ?
    There should be a clause within such contracts to allow you to order people off site. With employment contracts you often have a list of certain items for which you can immediately dispense with someones services, it is usual that most contracts to utilise contractors/sub-contractors will also require compliance with the contractee's own rules and regs. Although employment law is slightly different to the law of contract for goods and services anyway, as often items will be covered by HSE regulation etc.
    The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the salient facts BSc (Hons)

  8. #8
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    Apr 2005
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    Buckinghamshire
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    Default

    The op has had his property rented since 2004, with only two tenants, and with only 'a few days' void in between. Thats pretty good going over 7 years. Presumably op is happy with the tenants the LA has found him, or he would have removed them, so that part of his service can't be in question.

    In 7 years one would reasonably expect an increase in fees, LA's are subject to increases in costs like everyone else.

    So before we all get sucked into the whirlpool of confrontation that is ram's world, it would be helpful to have a bit more information about the exact nature of the increase in fees and service issues that the op referred to and the wording of any management contract between OP and LA that refers to terminatig the contract between them.

  9. #9

    Default

    I totally agree with the advice being given by Oaktree. Seven years occupancy with only "a few days" void is very good to say the least. However, if there is dissatisfaction with the current service being provided, there is no reason why both parties can't just sit down and talk it through and hopefully come to an amicable solution. As a letting agent ourselves, our approach is very simple - if the landlord is not satisfied with our service, we just terminate the agreement, shake hands and walk away - we don't ask landlords to pay us any break fees. There is no point in forcing a customer to stay with you if they are not happy with your service levels. Keep it simple and everyone is happy.

  10. #10
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    A contract for services is either (a) for a fixed period or (b) indefinite. You cannot have a contract where one party is bound to another for ever. If the contract is for a fixed period it expires by effluxion of time. If the contract is indefinite either party can bring it to an end by notice. The period of notice is that set out in the contract or, if there is none, a reasonable period.

    Quite apart from that, if either party fails materially to perform its obligations the other party is entitled to rescind the contract.

    Whether the agent is entitled to perpetual commission is an entirely separate question.

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